Roger Williams Park Zoo will welcome penguins in 2025

Roger Williams Park Zoo will welcome penguins in 2025


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It looks like Rhode Islanders will have to wait a bit longer for penguins to return to Roger Williams Park Zoo.


The zoo officially announced two years ago that Humboldt penguins would be moving to the capital city in the near future. However, no exact timeline was given as to when the penguins would arrive.

Nearly a year later, the zoo told 12 News the penguins would likely be on exhibit by summer 2024.

But it appears those plans have since changed.

The penguins are now expected to arrive sometime in 2025, according to the zoo.

The zoo said Thursday night that it has “encountered unforeseen circumstances” with the penguin exhibit, prompting the delay.

“These complexities require additional time to ensure the habitat meets the specific needs of our penguin residents,” the zoo explained.

The zoo is in the process of renovating its former seal pool, which is where the penguins will eventually take up residence.

The harbor seal that used to live in the exhibit, named Bubba, was transferred in September 2022 to the Woods Hole Science Aquarium. The zoo chose to rehome Bubba so he would no longer be alone. (His beloved buddy Action passed away in May 2019.)

The capital city gifted $1.5 million in COVID relief funds to the zoo to renovate the old exhibit in hopes that the penguins would attract more visitors.

It’s been more than a decade since penguins have lived at the zoo.